Chupe de Camarones Antiguo

Chupe de Camarones Antiguo

David Loftus

Ancient Prawn Chowder. The warm and loving welcome I received from chef Mónica Huerta Alpaca at her Picantería La Nueva Palomino in Arequipa was matched only by her heavenly version of this classic Andina dish, handed down through five generations of her family. Local river prawns have greater intensity of flavour than ocean prawns, but of course you can use whichever is available.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Picante de Huevos, panca chilli paste
2 tablespoons Picante de Huevos, amarillo chilli paste
2 teaspoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
100g uncooked mixed quinoa
1 choclo corn or corn-on-the-cob, cut into chunks
1 large potato, peeled but left whole
600g large raw prawns, 4 left intact, the rest peeled, heads removed and deveined, (keep the shells and heads to make the stock)
4 eggs
100g peas
100ml single cream or evaporated milk
50g queso fresco or feta, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper

For the shellfish stock

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon olive oil
discarded heads and shells from the prawns
1.5 litre fish stock or water


  1. First, make the shellfish stock. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the prawn heads and shells. Stir over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until bright pink and smelling very aromatic, then pour over the fish stock or water. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to low and simmer very gently for a further 30 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the shells and release all their juices. Strain the liquid through a sieve and press down with a metal spoon to release all the stock. Discard the prawn heads and shells.
  2. To make the soup, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the red onion and sauté over a low heat for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chilli pastes and tomato purée, along with the cumin and oregano. Cook, stirring regularly, for a further 2 minutes until the chilli pastes start to separate.
  3. Pour in the shellfish stock and season with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, choclo or corn cob, potato and the peeled and unpeeled prawns, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through and everything else is almost cooked.
  4. Crack in the eggs and poach them directly in the soup for 3 minutes until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still soft. (Alternatively, you can poach the eggs separately and add them at the last minute.) Season with salt.
  5. Add the peas and evaporated milk or cream and simmer for a further 2 minutes until the peas are tender but still a fresh green colour.
  6. Serve the soup in individual bowls, making sure everyone gets an egg and unpeeled prawn, sprinkled with the cheese.
Martin Morales
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